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Ananias and Sapphira, Acts 5:1-11

Transparency for Personal Growth

When I was younger, I was an open book. I would tell anyone whatever they wanted to know about me. Over the years the extreme vulnerability turned on me. After being burned a few too many times by people I thought I could trust, I became much more hardened. I stopped talking, stopped sharing, stopped letting people in. It got so bad, I didn't even disclose information that really needed to be shared. My transparency was... muddy. 

Now I've learned that transparency, while frighteningly vulnerable, is necessary for developing and nurturing healthy relationships. It's hard. My gut wants to recoil at the thought of letting people in. But when I do, the reward is unbelievably fulfilling. I don't know what experiences led to Ananias and Sapphira's unwillingness to be transparent. But their lies hurt the community and led to their deaths. I might not drop dead on the spot when I fail to be transparent, but withholding the best parts of myself will kill me slowly. My relationships will suffer. My integrity will wither. I'd rather take the risk and hang it all out there, even if it means I might get hurt once in a while. 

Narrative Lectionary Text: Acts 5:1-11

But a man named Ananias, with the consent of his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property; with his wife’s knowledge, he kept back some of the proceeds, and brought only a part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. “Ananias,” Peter asked, “why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, were not the proceeds at your disposal? How is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You did not lie to us but to God!” Now when Ananias heard these words, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard of it. The young men came and wrapped up his body, then carried him out and buried him.

After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you and your husband sold the land for such and such a price.” And she said, “Yes, that was the price.” Then Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” Immediately she fell down at his feet and died. When the young men came in they found her dead, so they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. And great fear seized the whole church and all who heard of these things.